Happy Friday, the weekend is almost here and it’s a good one to get an early start on as three matches kick off this afternoon across Europe with USMNT ties. Let’s get right to it.
Union Berlin v RB Leipzig - 2:30p on ESPN+
Don’t look now but that is Jesse Marsch’s seat that looks like it’s getting pretty toasty in Leipzig. The club that came into the season with aspirations of challenging Bayern Munich for the league title have lost their last two matches and currently sit in eighth place in the Bundesliga. Things get pretty crowded after the top two spots in the league table so Leipzig do remain just six points back of third place and four points back of Champions League qualification. However, those would be minimum expectations for the club and falling any further back is going to make things very uncomfortable for Marsch. We’re not joking when we say things are crowded either, there are four other teams tied with RB Leipzig at eighteen points and while the club holds a decent goal differential the wrong series of breaks could see them drop all the way to thirteenth if they don’t pick up a win.
Tyler Adams has had his own rough stretch lately as well, getting his pocket picked for the second goal against Hoffenheim two weeks ago and then coming off the bench in a 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen last weekend after the clubs fate had already been sealed. Adams’ role with the USMNT is not in any doubt at all, if healthy he remains a key starter for the national team, but it would be encouraging to see him gain a little form with his club side.
Leipzig’s opponent this weekend is Union Berlin who sit sixth in the table, two points ahead of Leipzig. The club is coming off a 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt after giving up the winning goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
- Tim Ream picked up his fourth career goal last weekend in Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Preston. Ream and Antonee Robinson will look to solidify Fulham’s hold on first place in the Championship when they face second place Bournemouth who are just a point back. The match can be seen at 2:45p on ESPN+.
- Matt Miazga has just 17 minutes in the last five matches for Deportivo Alaves and the club has just one loss over that period as well so it may be hard to work his way back in on form. The club face Granada CF at 3p on ESPN+.
West Ham United v Chelsea FC - 7:30a on NBCSN
Christian Pulisic appears to be fully recovered from injury as he started and went 90’ on Wednesday in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Watford. Minutes management could mean he doesn’t start again three days later as the club face West Ham but it would be surprising if he doesn’t see at least some time. Currently there is a tight three team race between Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool for the top of the of the table with just two points separating the three clubs, but it’s Chelsea who have the advantage and currently sit in the top spot. Their opponent this weekend will be West Ham who currently sit in fourth place, and while they are seven points out of first they are also in their own tight race as they hold a one point edge on Arsenal for the fourth and final Champions League qualifying position.
- Bryan Reynolds has been making the bench again but has not seen minutes for Roma. The club face Inter Milan in a marquee matchup at Noon on CBSSN.
- Bobby Wood came on an scored the late match winner for Real Salt Lake who will now face the Portland Timbers at 6:30p on FS1 in the Western Conference Final.
- John Anthony Brooks and Wolfsburg look to make their own move up the table as they face Mainz at 9:30a on ESPN+. Currently Wolfsburg sit in seventh place, two points back of Freiburg for fourth and two points ahead of Mainz in ninth.
- Chris Richards seems to have slipped into some sort of regular substitute role for Hoffenheim who face Timothy Chandler’s Eintracht Frankfurt at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Julian Green and Greuther Furth will look for their second point of the season when they face Bayer Leverkusen at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Sergino Dest is also on some uneasy footing as rumors out of Barcelona indicate that he has work to do to solidify his position with the club. Dest has returned from injury but was an unused substitute last weekend in the teams 3-1 win over Villarreal. Barcelona face Real Betis at 10:15a on ESPN+.
- It’s a top of the table clash for Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich at 12:30p on ESPN+ but Giovanni Reyna remains unavailable for Dortmund who have dealt with a number of injuries this season but remain just one point back of Bayern.
- Timothy Weah started and picked up an assist on Wednesday in Lille’s 2-1 win over Stade Rennais. Lille remain in 12th place but just six points back of fourth place Nice. This weekend they will face Troyes at 1p on beIN Sports.
Philadelphia Union v New York City FC - 3p on ABC and ESPN Deportes
The Philadelphia Union and NYCFC get the primetime broadcast treatment this weekend in the Eastern Conference MLS Cup final. The match brings together the two remaining clubs with the most potential USMNT interest as well. The Union continue to give playing time to some of their youngsters including Leon Flach, Jack McGlynn, and Paxten Aaronson, none of whom have broken into the senior USMNT side but all three of whom could have an impact down the road. Philadelphia advanced to the Eastern Conference Final thanks to a shootout victory over Nashville as Nashville were unable to convert any of their four attempts while McGlynn and Jack Elliott each buried theirs.
NYCFC also advanced to the final thanks to a shootout victory as USMNT third keeper Sean Johnson saved the New England Revolutions second shot and Matt Turner was unable to keep out any of the four well taken shots by NYCFC. James Sands and Tayvon Gray also started the match for NYCFC with Sands playing a midfield role and Gray playing 120’ at right back.
- Josh Sargent has started the past two matches for Norwich but is still looking for his first goal contribution for the club. The club has eight points from their last four matches but remain in the relegation zone as they face Tottenham Hotspur at 9a on Peacock.
- Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessmann and Venezia will look to bounce back from a 4-0 loss to Atalanta, their second straight loss, when they face Hellas Verona at 9a on Paramount+.
- Pelegrino Matarazzo’s second Bundesliga season with Stuttgart is not going as well as their first season, currently the team sit in 15th place, tied on points with Augsburg for the relegation playoff position. The team continues to find ways to score but their 23 goals conceded is second worst with only Greuther Furth (39!) behind them. The club face Hertha Berlin this weekend in what looks like could be an important relegation battle. The match is at 9:30a on ESPN+.
- Joe Scally and Borussia Monchengladbach face Freiburg at 11:30a on ESPN+. Despite making his Gladbach debut this season Scally leads all field players in minutes this season and is the only one to have started every match.
- Weston McKennie’s has apparently dodged a bullet as his scary looking knee injury turned out to be relatively minor. Juventus face Genoa at 2:45p on ESPN+.
- Yunus Musah started Valencia’s Copa del Ray match against CD Utrillas and picked up a goal and assist in the 3-0 victory over the tiny club from a town of 3,000. Probably not a career defining moment but you take what you can get.
Follow along this weekend and let us know what you’re watching in the comments section below.